A Bradford school’s girls cricket team have beaten the odds to win a prestigious award at the Chance to Shine annual ceremony at Lord’s.
Since the cricket team began, U15’s Carlton Bolling College have won the title of Yorkshire champions three times, including being the under-15 champions in an under 13 age group. The group have also been on the BBC, on Radio 5 and for an exclusive training session at Lords.
After this, the team, made up of Asian young adults, were invited by the ECB Chance to Shine Annual Awards at Lords, where they met cricketer Jason Roy and received a special recognition award.
Zaheer Jaffary, a PE teacher at Carlton Bolling College, has coached the girls to success, but not without facing certain adversities. The road to success hasn’t been easy for the group. Coming from an Asian background, there were several problems with the girls’ families before they could join the team. He commented:
‘The amount of obstacles and barriers we have faced are the sole reason of our success. The main problems and challenges exist due to the rules of a cultural background for the team as a whole. Their religious beliefs were a barrier for them to step outside of their comfort zone and channel their energy into something bigger and better than they are, simply because it ‘isn’t classed as right for girls to do so’ as part of their culture.’
Not only that, but the team has also been rejected by certain training grounds due to the gender of the team, and receives negativity from other teams due to the colour of their skin.
On their achievements, Jaffary said:
‘We are so thankful for all of the privileges we had been granted, and think back to the times we had no hope whatsoever. Since that win, we’ve gained the knowledge and emotional understanding needed to move onto the victories we’ve seen attained.’
He went on to describe his plans for the future:
‘I plan to start all over again with the current year 7s and 8s to bring them to the standards we have reached with the current team. Some members of the current team have already been helping out, coaching the girls about their own experiences and skills they have attained over the course of 3 years’
Jaffary and the U15’s Carlton Bolling College team have set an example in the Asian community, and Zaheer hopes it will inspire other Asian women to get involved in sport.
‘We have achieved things which will continue to inspire many more girls all over the world to achieve their dreams and hopes, regardless of their gender, race and culture.’